Bolivar County GenWeb
Freedman's Bank Records
Description of Records
The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, popularly known as the Freedman's Savings Bank, was a financial organization created by the U.S. government to encourage and guide the economic development of the newly-emancipated African-American communities in the post-Civil War period. Although functioning only between 1865 and 1874, the company achieved notable successes as a leading financial institution of African-Americans. Its archives are valued as an exhaustive collection of information regarding the African American community and its socio-economic life in the immediate aftermath of emancipation.
Following the end of the American Civil War, the poor economic condition of the newly-emancipated negroes (often called Freedmen at the time) was aggravated by the economic devastation of the Southern states. The emancipated peoples had few economic resources or capital and little experience or exposure to private enterprise. Many soon fell into sharecropping and forced labor in the South. To help alleviate the socio-economic condition of the community, the Republican-controlled U. S. Congress established the Freedman's Bureau and passed an act of incorporation and a charter for the Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865. Originally headquartered in New York City, the first branch of the company opened in Baltimore, Maryland. By 1866, the bank had established 19 branches in 12 states, mainly in the South. The national headquarters was shifted to Washington, D.C. in 1867. (Source: Wikipedia)